During what is usually a relatively quiet time of year, this year’s NFL trade deadline sent waves through the world of sports media.
Wait, you mean all those “NFL Trades That Would Make Sense” articles actually mattered this year? Yes.
By the time the clock struck 4:00 PM this past Tuesday, a total of 5 transactions had been made with a potential sixth negated by the incompetence of the Cleveland Browns.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter called it “the most active trade deadline ever”.
First, the Buffalo Bills sent nose tackle Marcell Dareus and his over-zealous contract to the Jaguars in exchange for a 2018 sixth round pick. Next, San Francisco double-downed and sent a 2018 second round pick to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo – providing at least a brief glimmer of hope for their quarterback position.
Then, in a surprise move, the Miami Dolphins shipped 24-year-old Pro Bowl running back, Jay Ajayi, to the Eagles for Philadelphia’s 2018 fourth-round pick. The Houston Texans finally succeeded in dealing a disgruntled Duane Brown, shipping him off with a 2018 fifth-rounder to Seattle for the Seahawks’ 2018 third-round pick and 2019 second-round pick.
Wait, there’s more. After dealing Marcell Dareus earlier in the day, the Buffalo Bills wasted no time in filling a roster spot, sending their 2018 3rd and 7th round picks to Carolina in exchange for WR Kelvin Benjamin.
Even the Browns almost pulled off a deal with Cincinnati for backup QB A.J. McCarron but forgot to call the league offices in time. Typical Browns.
This was, by all means, the most unconventional NFL trade deadline in recent memory. A time of year that normally passes by with a yawn drastically changed the course of the 2017 NFL season. Four out of the five deals that occurred all featured teams expected to make the playoffs adding veteran players in hopes to bolster a championship run.
The Jaguars (4-3) remedied their run defense by plugging the gaps with Marcel Dareus. The Eagles (7-1) found a perfect West Coast running back to complement the ground-and-pound of LeGarrette Blount. The Seahawks (5-2) finally found a competent player to play left tackle, and the Bills (5-3) filled their most glaring roster need – WR.
The only team not trying to stack the chips for this year was the 49ers, who may have lucked out the best of all. They traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, a young, talented, extremely well-coached quarterback whose had the privilege of learning under the best QB to ever play the game. Yes, he’s only had two career starts, but in those games, Garoppolo went 43 for 63 passing and threw for 502 yards, 4 TD’s, and zero interceptions – good enough for a 113.3% passer rating. Not too bad for the price of a second-round pick.
Then there was the Browns, who according to former NFL executive, Joe Banner, could not overcome the “third-grade level of complication” NFL trade papers posed to them. “Not sure what happened…” Banner told reporters: “When you make a trade, you fill out this very simple form. Every team I know then calls the league to make sure they got it and it is filled out correctly and good. The Browns can blame the Bengals if they want, but they can’t explain away why they didn’t call the league before deadline to confirm that the league got everything…”
From the Browns blowing yet another opportunity to score a competent signal caller to contenders like the Eagles and Seahawks stocking up on post-season toys, the 2017 NFL trade deadline spurred wide-spread unlike any years previous. One former NFL executive told ESPN, “I’ve never seen trades like this at this point in time … [u]sually, everybody thinks you will cut a guy, so no one will make a trade.”
Is this a sign that the NFL may be moving more in the direction of the NBA and MLB when it comes to trades? Hopefully, it would sure as hell make the trade deadline a much more exciting, talked about time of year. Regardless of how it shakes out, the outcomes of this year’s transactions will be fun to watch and will most definitely play a pivotal role in how league executives conduct themselves this time of year in 2018.